Chuck Holdeman has written songs, works for band, orchestra, chamber music, and film and educational music. His one-act opera “Agostino and the Puccini Clarinet,” with libretto by Vincent Marinelli, was premiered in 2007 at the Music School of Delaware, and produced again in 2008. In 2006 his "Concerto tre d'uno" was commissioned and premiered by the Philadelphia Classical Symphony. The soloist and dedicatee was Richard Woodhams, principal oboist of the Philadelphia Orchestra, who performed the work again in 2011 for the International Double Reed Society in Tempe, Arizona.
2009 saw the premieres of both "At the Bend," eight songs based on poems by W. S. Merwin, who was in attendence, as well as "Quintetto" for bassoon and string quartet which received its first two performances in Birmingham , UK and Bordeaux, France, featuring Paris opera bassoonist Ludovic Tissus.
Holdeman is a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied bassoon with Sol Schoenbach and counterpoint with Matthew Colucci, later studying bassoon in France with Maurice Allard. He is principal bassoonist for the Bach Festival of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and performs with the Philadelphia's new music group Relâche. He was a member of the Buffet Trio for 20 years, and for 28 years was a member of the Delaware Symphony, including 24 years as principal.
In 1999 Chuck Holdeman was named Composer of the Year by the Pennsylvania and Delaware State Music Teachers Associations, which commissioned "Crossover Soundings," for piano 4-hands, and in 2000 he was the first recipient of the Delaware Division of the Arts Master Artist Fellowship. In 2003 Holdeman received the Beekhuis Award for outstanding service and performance in the Delaware Symphony Orchestra. The DSO commissioned and performed the orchestral version of "Crossover Soundings" as well as "The Curse" for narrator and orchestra. For 15 seasons Chuck initiated and facilitated the DSO’s high school composition project, and was commissioned again by the DSO (see premieres) on the occasion of his retirement from the orchestra.
Chuck Holdeman is a frequent composer-in-residence in schools, most recently in Elkins Park, PA for Living Bookshelf and for "Music and Dance for South Philly Kids After School," in collaboration with dancer Jenna Frome, and sponsored by American Composers Forum, Philadelphia Chapter, and United Communities of Southeast Philadelphia. In 2010 he was a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellow, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
He has produced two CDs, one featuring “Buffet Music,” commissioned by Hampden-Sydney College for the Buffet Trio, and the other an all original solo album, partially recorded in the Cistern, an empty two-million-gallon water storage tank in Port Townsend, Washington. The Cistern’s 20- to 40-second reverberation time enables the bassoon to play chords among other magical effects. "Sonate en Trio" is included in the Meyer Media recording by Melomanie. "Lyric Seasons" was released in 2012 on CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.
Working with librettist Bill Bly, a second opera is in progress, a one-act based on mishaps in the early career of J. S. Bach. It is scheduled for production in spring 2014 by the Bach Festival of Bethlehem, PA, which commissioned "Young Meister Bach."